The associate degree (AD) in Chemistry, equivalent to the European level 5, is a two-year higher professional education between the four-year MBO (level 4) and the four-year HBO bachelor (level 6).
Many people think a four-year bachelor’s degree is far too long, especially if you want to do it part-time, you are vulnerable, because work, private life and training make demands. If you have to stop in the meantime, you are a dropout and you have nothing at all. Moreover, with an AD in your pocket, you can still choose whether you want to move on to the third year of a related bachelor’s degree.
The two-year courses focus on knowledge of basic concepts. Technology is evolving, but there are things that do not change, such as Newton, thermodynamics and other laws of physics. Besides, there is a lot of project education, culminating in a graduation internship where you only go to school for a day or two evenings a week. While an HBO graduate has never been in a company after the second year of his bachelor’s.
In his view, the chemical industry is not actively recruiting at level 5 because those people are hard to be found. ‘They do it with level 4 and train them further, with the focus on the situation within their own plant. Only there is less and less space for this as the teams become smaller. So the industry benefits from people who already have that higher level. Moreover, it does not mean level 6. ‘HBO bachelor’s often have different future perspectives for themselves. In addition, there are plenty of other positions they can grow into. They are gone quickly.